ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The US government launched a $5 million-program for Iraqi airport security. It will provide both training and equipment in close coordination and partnership with experts at the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA), the US Consulate General in Erbil said on Thursday.
During remarks at the reception to launch the new program, the top US diplomat in Iraq, Chargé d'Affaires Joey Hood, said, “Airports are gateways to the world. This cooperative program will not only improve passenger safety for the Iraqi people, but will bolster Iraq’s ability to attract foreign investors, expand global trade linkages, and encourage economic growth.”
According to the Consulate, officials from the ICAA, Baghdad International Airport, Basrah International Airport, and Erbil International Airport have already met to discuss how to implement the program and continue to strengthen security at Iraqi airports to meet international standards.
“The launch of the program is an indication of Iraq’s expanding role in the global aviation community and underscores the U.S. commitment to help build a prosperous and diversified Iraqi economy, as outlined in the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement,” the statement issued by the Consulate General in Erbil affirmed.
This is the latest, prominent US-funded project in Iraq, whose infrastructure suffers from nearly forty years of sanctions and conflict, going back to Iraq’s war with Iran in the1980s and then Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, two years after that war ended.
The most recent round of destruction comes from the war against the self-styled Islamic State, which, at its peak, controlled nearly one-third of Iraq.
Earlier, in mid-April, during a visit to Fallujah city, Hood announced that the US government intends to provide an additional $100 million to help stabilize liberated areas that were once held by the Islamic State.
With this $100 million contribution, the US government will have provided $358 million to stabilization efforts in Iraq since 2015.
Editing by Laurie Mylroie